Veteran German heavy metal band Scanner has returned with a bang after almost a decade, delivering their latest full-length album, The Cosmic Race, which showcases the band’s long-displayed prowess in crafting concept albums that dive deep into a futuristic narrative.

Comprised of vocalist Efthimions Ioannidis, (only surviving original member) guitarist Axel Julius, bassist Jörn Bettenrup, and drummer Boris Frenkel, Scanner embarks on a sonic journey that intertwines heavy metal with a compelling sci-fi storyline. The Cosmic Race explores the struggles of survival on a devastated Earth, marked by natural disasters, nuclear contamination, and intense military conflicts, all to the tune of pounding heavy metal anthems like Warriors of the Light or pulse racing opener The Earth Song.

The central figure in this cosmic tale is The Scanner, a hybrid of human and android residing on planet Galactos. Tasked with rescuing a chosen group of humans from Earth, the Scanner transports them to a new habitable planet called Terrion in another galaxy. The narrative unfolds as the Space Battalion, the Scanner’s army, ensures the safety of the chosen ones during a perilous journey through various wormholes.

Musically, Scanner’s album is a dynamic blend of powerful vocals, intricate guitar work, solid basslines, and relentless drumming. The tracks mirror the intensity of the storyline, creating an immersive experience for the listener. From explosive opener The Earth Song through to the final ride The Last and First In Line, each song contributes to the overall atmosphere of the concept very well indeed.

One standout aspect of The Cosmic Race is its ability to transition seamlessly between heavy, high-energy segments and more straightforward metal moments like Face The Fight. Scanner captures the essence of survival and rebirth in their music, echoing the struggles and triumphs of the characters in the narrative.

The thematic depth of the album is apparent in the lyrics, addressing not only the challenges of settling on a new planet but also the internal conflicts within the community. The Scanner’s system to identify and deal with dissenters during their dream phases adds an intriguing layer to the storyline, and this concept is translated effectively into the music.

In terms of production, The Cosmic Race is punchy, with a nice rawness to the guitars of Julius, but each instrument is allowed to shine without overshadowing the others. The album successfully captures the futuristic theme through sound effects, contributing to the overall immersion in Scanner’s sci-fi world.

In conclusion, this album is a triumphant return for Scanner, showcasing their ability to craft a compelling concept album that seamlessly blends heavy metal with an intricate narrative. With a well-executed storyline, powerful performances, and masterful musical composition, Scanner proves that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the heavy metal scene. Fans of both the genre and science fiction narratives are in for a treat with this release.

The Cosmic Race is out now.